Or so they say. And so I’ll do.
Each October, families that blog about life with Down syndrome commit to a daily exercise of blogging every day (31) in October to raise awareness and acceptance about Down syndrome (T21). For the past seven years I have happily jumped in the fray and shared pictures, stories, resources and information about Down syndrome. I’m entering my eigth year of this beloved practice. The first two years that I joined 31 for 21 after the birth of the Quail, I continued on my typical daily blog posts at that time, taking care to ensure that I did post every day for the month. I was still able to maintain a semblance of order and time to devote to daily writing with the categories I initially organized my thoughts around. The third and fourth year, I had not had the time to post daily musings, in a good while, but I still had an extensive archive of photos I hadn’t had time to edit and share yet. So, I posted mainly images labeled with little tidbits about the Quail that make her both extraordinary and ordinary.
I hit my peek in 2013. In that last year, I LOVED participating. And still have every intention of making it into a book for myself. Our friend Molly Flanagan had shot some wonderful lifestyle photos of our family and our daily goings-on and I had told her that I loved them so much that I could narrate a story about each image. And that is what I did. I continue to go back to these photos and narratives. They are a gift- each single one. And I reread and still nod along as if I’m reading someone else’s writing and story. I still find myself thinking- yes! That’s what MY life is like. And then others shared with me how they felt about this project and how they could relate to it. And then writers that I love shared it with their friends. And then wonderful things happened. I dug out my brave bones, like I tell my children to every day they go out into the world and requested a fundraiser at my work for Down syndrome awareness and the Buddy Walk. And together we raised over $1700. And the next year we did just as well. Both times I was humbled, and felt so proud to have my village lift me up and help me help myself and others. The response was unexpectedly overwhelmingly positive. People I hadn’t had the pleasure to meet in person contributed and took the time to get in touch to say how Down syndrome is a part of their life and how lovely and inspiring our Quail is. The good people at my work took it upon themselves to write up our advocacy efforts in our statewide celebration for a nomination for a humanitarian award which we won this spring. And later that summer I was informed that the nomination was then passed on to the regional competition and we won that as well! If I’m going to be recognized by my workplace- there is no greater joy then realizing that while they appreciate my work- they also appreciate my heart and those it belongs to. The next year we did the same fundraising and actually had friends join us for the walk. I managed to write and then, well then the big void came on, but all the voidier than even the years past. And in 2015. It was even harder to find the time and energy to write. And I only managed to write for seven days.
But as the saying goes, I’m going to stand up again. Because you only fail if you fail to try. And there’s a little girl counting on me. On us. On every single one of us. And if she can stand up and try again. So can I.